Social recognition at work

What Is Social Recognition at Work?

Lynsey May Sutherland
Lynsey Sutherland
May 21, 2024
6 min read

The majority of people agree that a happy employee is a more productive employee. The big question is how we, as companies, can help move the needle when it comes to employee happiness. In this article, we discuss the ways that social recognition can promote a happier, healthier and more productive workplace. 

The better employees feel about their work and their place in the workplace, the more likely they are to be engaged. However, with Indeed reporting that only a third of UK employees are happy in their jobs, it’s clear there’s plenty of work to be done. 

At Mo, we’ve put a lot of time into investigating the various factors that help keep employees happy and we’ve found that while options such as bonuses, increased holiday leave and flexible hours are important, there’s one answer to the one often overlooked: recognition. 69% of employees say they’d work harder if they were better appreciated by management.

Social recognition can be a powerful way of turning this around. However, it’s not simply a case of checking in once a year or handing out long service awards, it requires dedication to timely and relevant recognition when it matters most – and a deep understanding of why social recognition is so valuable.  

What is Social Recognition?

Everyone wants recognition for the hard work they’re doing. But, in a workplace setting, that often comes down to financial bonuses or incentives. 

Social recognition is all about acknowledging someone in a way that doesn’t have any monetary value attached. While it seems straightforward, many companies fall flat when following through with social recognition. 

It can be a simple “thank you” when passing an employee’s desk, a shoutout over Slack, or a quick moment of recognition during a staff meeting! 

When employees know their hard work has been recognised, even with a passing acknowledgement, they feel valued for their contributions to your organisation and will strive to keep up that level of performance.

Happy Employees Are More Productive

A happy employee is a productive employee, and we can all agree on that. There’s no denying that how employees feel about their work can truly impact a business, with those who are happy at work being significantly more productive, more engaged, and less likely to jump ship. But we also know that only a third of UK employees are happy in their jobs.

So how do you keep employees happy? Bonuses? More holiday leave? Flexible hours? 

While all these options certainly would be well-received, sometimes the best answer is the one often overlooked: recognition. 69% of employees say they’d work harder if they were better appreciated by management. 

We all know someone who has expressed how frustrated they are with not feeling seen, heard or rewarded at work (maybe even some of your employees are feeling this right now). Sadly, the most obvious solution to feeling under-appreciated at work is for the employee to find a new job. But this doesn’t have to be the case.

If you’re ready to tackle the problem, social recognition is one of the best cost-effective solutions for keeping your employee morale and engagement high. Getting the most out of this effort isn’t going to be easy. Forget those years of service rewards and think about recognising in the moment. Let’s talk about what social recognition is and why it is so important. 

Moment Cs Praise

Recognition is an excellent way to ensure that remote and hybrid employees remain a core part of the team, promoting harmony and connection between those who are in the office as well as those who are out.

Investing in the means to communicate with the whole team, wherever they are, is a must. This has been a driving concern here at Mo, and one we solved with our innovative employee engagement platform.  

The Importance of Social Recognition

Introducing a culture of social recognition into the workplace isn’t just about making your employees feel good – it can have lasting impacts on a business. Let’s take a look at the benefits of social recognition. 

1. Increased Employee Engagement

It’s no secret that there is a powerful connection between employee recognition and engagement, and lack of recognition is one of the main reasons why employees are disengaged. Employee engagement is vital if you want to increase productivity, innovation and retention, and social recognition will help you amplify that recognition message. 

Did you know that 92% of workers are more likely to repeat a specific action after receiving recognition for it? It shows that social recognition reinforces good work habits.

It’s beneficial for the brand, too. Strong engagement directly impacts business – a Forbes report found that teams who score in the top 20% in engagement have a 41% reduction in absenteeism and 59% less turnover.

2. Lower Staff Turnover

According to Gallup, the number one reason most people leave their jobs is a lack of recognition. 

It’s pretty simple. If you like your job and feel rewarded fairly for doing it, you will stick around. As a business, it’s essential to ensure your staff know just how valued they are. Lack of recognition and engagement contributes to 44% of employee turnover. 

3. Higher Productivity

It’s a flow-on effect. More recognition in the workplace leads to happier and more engaged employees, which ultimately leads to more productive workers. Employees who regularly receive recognition for their work consistently display increased productivity. 

4. Improved Employee Satisfaction

The end goal of social recognition is improved employee satisfaction. It is essential to have a team that is happy with their work, the company, and their co-workers. Without that, you simply can’t get ahead as a business. Employee recognition is the not-so-secret secret to improved employee satisfaction.

5. Decreased Absenteeism

Not to keep repeating ourselves, but recognition makes staff happierIt boosts employee satisfaction by validating their daily life. When employees enjoy coming to work, managers see them taking fewer sick days and long lunches. A Gallup study of over two million workers found that businesses with engaged teams saw 81% less absenteeism

The bottom line? Social recognition should be a top priority for your workplace.

How to Practice Social Recognition

You’ve seen the benefits. Now it’s time to put it into practice. 

1. Provide Social Recognition Often

Put your people at the heart of your business. Just ask the employees at The Grand Brighton Hotel. Social recognition isn’t just a one-and-done practice. To be effective, you must perform it regularly and on an ongoing basis. 

Ongoing social recognition makes workers feel valued as team members rather than receiving once-off praise, which can sometimes fall flat. 

2. Encourage Peer-to-peer Recognition

Receiving praise from a manager is important to employees for many reasons. It sets the foundation for their experience at the company, fostering a sense of mentorship. But peer-to-peer recognition goes one step further.

By creating a positive work culture, your team will thrive even if you take your eye off the ball. Mo’s employee recognition software can be automised to give managers breathing space, encouraging employees to support each other through Moments and rewards.

3. Provide Social Recognition in Real-time

Don’t wait. If an employee does a stellar job or goes above and beyond, they should be recognised for it instantly. As we shared above, over 90% of employees say that when they’re recognised for a specific action, they’re more likely to do it again in the future.

4. Encourage Leaders to Be Better

Leaders are the ones who make a company. For a company to thrive, you need disruptive leadership. Leaders need to be constantly looking for better solutions, and ways to establish new processes and make an impact on the business as a whole. 

5. Invest in Employee Recognition Software

Implementing effective recognition practices in the workplace can be a huge undertaking, especially for large companies. Where do you even start?

Transform your culture with Mo

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Mo is an employee recognition and engagement platform that can help leaders improve collaboration and morale, reduce employee churn and drive change. 

Our platform creates a vibrant culture by developing team habits, encouraging people to celebrate success, recognise results and appreciate colleagues. Your complete toolkit for connecting and motivating teams in the new world of work. Book a demo with our team today.

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